University to develop accessible campus

25 October 2019

This semester, UNNC has invested 500 thousand yuan (over 70,000 USD) to introduce a hearing loop system to help improve the classroom experience for several students with hearing impairments. It is part of UNNC’s broader attempt to establish UNNC as an “accessible” campus. 

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A tutor is wearing a specially designed microphone during lecture, with the new audio device next to him.

Chuan Ni, a Year 4 student of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, was one of the first users of the new device. Before utilising the equipment, studying in an English language environment had been a huge challenge for him – he was barely able to hear the lectures clearly, even when sitting in the first row.

For most of the modules, Chuan had to learn by himself after class and spend much more time and energy just to keep up with other students. “The device then made everything so clear”, Chuan exclaimed. “I could even hear the professor sipping coffee and swiping the whiteboard."

Sheng Wu from UNNC Wellbeing Service Office was one of the promoters of the system. “In fact, ‘accessibility’ is a very broad concept,” she said. “It includes, but is not limited to, barrier-free passage, toilets, signs and the necessary support facilities and services for people in need.”

In order to achieve an accessible campus, Sheng says that the Office provides multiple supports as well as counselling services to best help students in need - such as note-taking, accessible fitness, study abroad support and alternative exam arrangement. According to Sheng, the number of students who have access to disability support has increased by over 30 percent in the last year and is still increasing. 

“The University never exempted me from any test or assignment - it offers me support while ensuring fairness to other students and with this I felt very comfortable,” Chuan said.

We don't want students to feel stigmatised for having a disability. We want to provide support services and have a campus which is accessible that allows all students, with or without disability to have the best learning experience possible.

Patti Wallace, Head of Wellbeing and Counselling Service

“Although students with disabilities only account for 0.5 percent of all UNNC students, we are trying our best to create an inclusive and equitable teaching and learning environment to benefit all our students,” Sheng said.